ASC Field Visit Resulted in Fruitful Feedback and Reflection on the Program to Support Women Affected by Gender-Based Violence and Persons with Disabilities

ASC Field Visit Resulted in Fruitful Feedback and Reflection on the Program to Support Women Affected by Gender-Based Violence and Persons with Disabilities

On 5 July 2022, the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program Steering Committee (ASC) visited program activities in Kampong Speu province. Andreas Zurbrugg, Deputy Ambassador at the Australian Embassy to Cambodia chaired the visit.

The ASC members, comprising representatives from the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), the Government of Australia and the ACCESS team, observed program activities and met with sub-national partners, operators and beneficiaries to understand and discuss the progress, challenges, and lessons learned from their respective interventions. The visit resulted in practical recommendations for the remaining implementation period of the program.

H.E Em Chan Makara, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), Secretary-General of the Disability Action Council and one of the ASC members, stated that this field visit was a good initiative to collect feedback for the continuation of the program in supporting persons with disabilities. He said that the support from the Australian Government was valuable for Cambodia, in particular in the disability and GBV sectors. He encouraged the Australian Government to support the Cambodian Sign Language training that will benefit persons with disabilities.

Another ASC member, H.E Hou Samith, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), shared that service providers received training to improve their capacity resulting in more improved provision of GBV services through the ACCESS Program’s support.  She urged the Australian Government to continue to support activities in Kampong Speu province and extend their support that benefits women affected by GBV to other provinces.

“The ACCESS Program is not a separate body; rather, it is a program that aligns with policies and guidelines of ministries and sub-national partners, and it is the RGC’s backbone”, said H.E Srey Vuth, Deputy Director General of the General Department of Budget in the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He added that the ACCESS Program targeted support to specific areas, which contributed to positive change and sustainability in the communities.

To conclude the visit, the Deputy Ambassador appreciated the advice and reflection on the program from ASC members and participants. He stated that the ACCESS program has clearly strengthened further the collaboration between the Government of Australia and the Government of Cambodia in developing and implementing quality sector policies to advance the rights of women and persons with disabilities.  The recommendations from participants will certainly inform key priority areas of the ACCESS Program in its fifth year of implementation. “I believe that today’s opportunity to directly engage with our provincial, district and commune level partners as well as meeting with beneficiaries can help us, as Steering Committee members to provide even more relevant guidance to the program“.

Through Australia’s provision of AUD 25 million for five years (2018-2023), the ACCESS Program is working in partnership with the RGC, and the program’s Implementing Partners to improve the sustainability, quality, and inclusiveness of services for persons with disabilities and women affected by gender-based violence.